Copyright 2004 Paul Clacher

Hogarth Range Part I

The Background

It all started when I took some cut stones to work when someone found out that I go fossicking and cut the stones, which I find. As soon as I took my skite box of cut stones into work I was blackmailed to (well asked really nicely) run a special trip for my work colleagues so that they could find their own lot of stones. And so the adventure into fossicking began in earnest with my dear work mates.

I held a few information sessions, made up a special e-mail group of those interested work colleagues. And, I even made up a special information kit.

Fossicking Trip to Casino and Stanthorpe 22/03/03 and 23/03/03

Day 1. Saturday 22/03/03

On 22/03/03 a small team of my work friends met at Casino and then headed off to Hogarth Range where were all keen to dig for Labradorite. About 10:30 we arrived at the Dig in the Hogarth Range area, found suitable spots and started to dig. As you can see from the photographs, its just a matter of picking a spot of green and hope like crazy that no one before has dug that spot. You tend to find out if it has been dug before when you have dug a small crater and have not unearthed any stone what so ever. It is then time to move to another spot. Several of the intrepid hardened miners (weekend fossickers), did this for some strange reason. I once knew this person who could not find any Labradorite at Hogarth Range, but alas they were dead. And as I say, you would have to be dead not to find any Labradorite at Hogarth Range. Which brings me to my next point. One of the diggers (who cannot be mentioned in this report for security reasons) attempted to kill, destroy, dispatch, terminate, render useless, neutralise and various end terms, the Weekend Organiser. But as he was too cunning he eluded the trap of drinking too much petrol and only put on a play act of spluttering and a pretend death scene. Fortunately I survived the petrol attack. Next time I will ensure that that un-named person will have a full tank of petrol and I will not have to siphon petrol from other cars.

Around 12:30 we stopped for lunch and after lunch the offending "Petrol Attacker" had to leave to obtain more supplies of Petrol and it was then that the remaining plotted a cunning plan to find a secret stash of stone. After about another hour or so of attending at the secret location our stone count of Labradorite had easily doubled. We had even found some antique bottles to boot. Well actually we left the boots behind. (Whose behind, can't tell. It's a secret.)

Around 2:30 pm we all headed off to the Malanganee Lookout where we had a spectacular view and some even used the Exclusive Royal Doulton. A great time was had by all at that spot. We then headed of to Stanthorpe. Alas Tiffany had to stop on the way and perform a humanitarian service for the Red Cross and save the life of a Tortoise. It was very grateful I am assured. I was a little bit concerned if I were to be pulled up by the Boys in Blue and asked to blow in the bag as I was wondering if petrol would make a register on the scale. I really didn't want the situation to become inflamed or volatile.

We met at the Red Rooster in Stanthorpe at 6:35 pm and searched the busy metropolis of Stanthorpe for a suitable location to suppress our ever growing hunger. Digging for Gem Stones can make one very hungry. So needless to say we were starving. We enter one of the local Hotels had a drink and at 7:00 pm we ordered our respective dinners. About an hour later after the kitchen had closed (allegedly according to their black board) we all received our meals. Fortunately for the Hotel Management the meals were excellent and huge and just about everyone couldn't fit in all that was served. Except for a couple, hey Jonathan and Mandy. Well there is no substitute for eating for 2 days in just one sitting. Actually it wasn't that bad.

Day 2. Sunday 23/03/03

We all met at the Stanthorpe Hysterical or was that the Historical Museum. We had to wait just a bit for Mark and family as he did not think it too hysterical on arrival. He had a little unscheduled stopover with some gentlemen dressed in blue who were testing some sort of laser or radar device. Anyway we headed down to a private and secret location at Glen Aplin. On arrival at the secret quite location where we were to dig for Smoky Quartz and Topaz we kind of noticed that there were about 30 to 40 people already there. On asking I found out that the Mt. Gravatt Gem Club had planned a Field Trip to our own secret spot. No matter. So we dug for about 5 minutes and then I had the brain wave to take everyone to my really and truly secret spot. Honest! No true story. So we packed up in about 5 seconds flat and headed off. So we wended our way through back streets and then through some bush goat tracks to my secret spot. We parked the cars and then headed off on foot for a bit to the diggings. I told everyone that they could not have my spot as I was getting some pretty good stone from there. After about of an hour I was feeling sorry for most who were not getting much, so I offered up my own position. Well within about of another hour Jonathan was pulling out stones bigger than he could fit in the back of his truck. So, feeling a mild attack of panic I quickly called up lunch and quickly marched everyone away from my hole. Sorry but we had to head back for lunch and refreshments. Come on guys, it took me ages to find that spot.

Odette found 2 brilliant clear small egg sized stones of perfectly clear quartz. She claims she just saw them on the ground. I think she either brought them with her or laid them. Anyway, they were pretty good.

Here we are above all enjoying a well earned lunch break. After lunch and safely away from my area, we attacked a good rocky area of the creek. I took them to those areas where there were crevices, and there is a much better chance of getting real gem stones such as Topaz. Now these Topaz are actually worth good money cut. Some people found some good pieces of quarts and crystals there, but to my knowledge no Topaz. Well of any size worth talking about.

Around 2:30 pm nearly everyone was running out of steam I think. Well the breaks were becoming more frequent and longer. So at the 2:30 pm mark I called it to an end and so we headed back through the bush to the sedans got into our respective cars and headed home.

I think everyone had a really good time as I did. Now I am being asked when and where the next trip will be to.

Copyright 2004 Paul Clacher